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Bruguiera gymnorrhiza Black mangrove Tumu Rhizophoraceae


Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Black mangrove, Rhizophoraceae, tumu

It is one of the curious features of mangroves that the object one sees occupying the place of an apparently ripe fruit is neither fruit nor seed. Large numbers of fruits develop and most of these ripen successfully. But then the seed germinates in the fruit, and develops a long hypocotyl, so that what falls from the tree is better called a propagule (in effect, a germinating seedling). In the black mangrove the hypocotyl is about the size, shape and colour of a modest Havana cigar, and so not perfectly adapted to making the most of opportunities for rooting in the mud. In other mangroves, the hypocotyl develops in such a way that the weight is at one end, making it more likely that the propagule will land upright in the mud, with enough force to lodge securely against being swept away by currents and tides. If the propagule (of any mangrove) is swept out to sea, it will soon grow a few pairs of leaves, which act as sails while it is carried to another shore.
Medical use: The bark is used also as
an astringent medicine against diarrhoea and sometimes malaria. The fruits are sometimes used as an astringent in betel quid when nothing better is available and they are suitable as an eye medicine, too.